This is a lovely example of Nicolas Bellin's 1757 map of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland. It includes Prince Edward Island (I. Isle Sainte Jean) and Isle Royale (Cape Breton Island). While a number of rivers are illustrated inland detail is sparse and the focus overall is on the coastlines. A dotted line divides 'Acadia' from the northern parts of Nova Scotia from the rest of Canada. The map includes arrows indicating currents in several locations, and a notation on the shallows to the south, in French: 'The Banks of Acadie, where the fishing is very good.'
Publication History and CensusThe map was executed in 1757 for inclusion in Prévost's Histoire générale des voyages, and was again printed in 1780 for Harpe's abridged edition of that work, perhaps better known for its imaginative flourish than for its factuality. Nevertheless, despite the venue, Bellin was an authoritative geographer who drew on state-of-the-art knowledge for the maps he contributed. This map appears on the market from time to time, although OCLC only lists nine copies of the separate map in both editions combined. Prévost's Histoire and Harpe's abridged version of it are well represented in institutional collections.
Jacques-Nicolas Bellin (1703 - March 21, 1772) was one of the most important cartographers of the 18th century. With a career spanning some 50 years, Bellin is best understood as geographe de cabinet and transitional mapmaker spanning the gap between 18th and early-19th century cartographic styles. His long career as Hydrographer and Ingénieur Hydrographe at the French Dépôt des cartes et plans de la Marine resulted in hundreds of high quality nautical charts of practically everywhere in the world. A true child of the Enlightenment Era, Bellin's work focuses on function and accuracy tending in the process to be less decorative than the earlier 17th and 18th century cartographic work. Unlike many of his contemporaries, Bellin was always careful to cite his references and his scholarly corpus consists of over 1400 articles on geography prepared for Diderot's Encyclopedie. Bellin, despite his extraordinary success, may not have enjoyed his work, which is described as "long, unpleasant, and hard." In addition to numerous maps and charts published during his lifetime, many of Bellin's maps were updated (or not) and published posthumously. He was succeeded as Ingénieur Hydrographe by his student, also a prolific and influential cartographer, Rigobert Bonne. Learn More...
De la Harpe, Abrégé de l'histoire générale des voyages, (Paris) 1780.